Question of the Week: What is the prophetic significance of the peace treaty between Israel and the U.A.E/Saudi Arabia?
There are two equal and opposite mistakes people make when looking for prophetically significant events in the news. Their standards are either so low that anything qualifies as a fulfillment of prophecy, or their standards are so high that prophecy as a whole is no longer relevant to their Christian life. Both are making the same mistake. The dismissal and mishandling of scripture. Therefore the solution is being properly informed concerning what to look for.
Is peace in the Middle East prophesied in the Bible? Yes. Is that all we are told? No. The prophecies in the Bible aren’t vague generalities in order to give them wiggle room if reality ends up catching up with their claims. They are so specific that it actually ends up putting itself in dangerous positions. If the circumstances, nations, locations, and even individuals don’t end up living up to the claims the Bible makes about them, the entire credibility of Scripture is put at risk. However, falsely claiming this event or individual was what the prophecy had in mind and ended up failing is misrepresenting the passage. This is what brings us to exactly what kind of peace in the Middle East is predicted in the Bible as well as the events that are going to follow.
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”
Daniel 9:26-27 (NKJV)
There’s a lot to unpack from this passage. The setting and initial audience is the prophet Daniel. Tested according to the standard laid down by Moses. If he were to say anything inaccurate in the name of God, he would have been taking his life into his own hands. If we were to claim he was lying, there would need to be the sort of means, motive, and opportunity to support that claim. Daniel was a captive in a foreign land with an entirely different religious demographic. Pursuing any kind of status among the Jews would accomplish nothing since they were all captives like he was. If he was looking for status, he’d be making claims about the Babylonian pantheon. He had nothing to gain for himself in making up claims about the God of Israel, and everything to lose among his fellow Jews as well. The only reason people have given to dismiss Daniel’s words is a bais against the supernatural. The assumption that there is nothing beyond the material prohibits the possibility of predicting the future to this degree of accuracy. Yet true to his Jewish blood, he continues to communicate and clarify the promises the God of Israel has been making about the Messiah since the founding of their nation regardless of the biases of Daniel’s critics.
The claim in this prophecy centers around the first and second comings of the Jewish Messiah. The word “week” in the language this was originally spoken in was translated using the term used to describe 7 days. However, words in two different languages don’t necessarily carry the same meaning. In Daniel’s spoken language, week means a unit of 7. In this context, it’s referring to 7 years. The 62 + 7 weeks (see verses 24-25) add up to a total of 69 weeks of years or 483 years. From the time the order is given to rebuild Jerusalem (445BC by Artaxerxes Longimanus according to the Babylonian calendar) Using the Jewish Lunar Calendar given the context and audience of this prophecy, we lose about 5 years along the way. When we subtract 445 from 483 including the 5 leap years, we are brought to the day Jesus of Nazareth entered Jerusalem in 33AD. This is a very broad summary and can be a question on its own. However, to understand the last two verses of the prophecy, it is necessary to grasp what has been said by the first two.
Daniel goes on to claim that after this event, the Messiah will be cut off. Literally, he will be executed. History affirms that Jesus was executed the week He entered Jerusalem at this time. With 69 of the 70 weeks fulfilled, Daniel claims the last week will begin when a prince from the people who destroyed the Jewish Temple will make a covenant with many, resulting in the beginning of that final week. There are graphic details given within this passage as well as the two chapters that follow Daniel 9. These are all quoted in the Book of Revelation as being fulfilled in the final Antichrist.
“There shall arise in his place one who imposes taxes on the glorious kingdom; but within a few days he shall be destroyed, but not in anger or in battle. And in his place shall arise a vile person, to whom they will not give the honor of royalty; but he shall come in peaceably, and seize the kingdom by intrigue. With the force of a flood they shall be swept away from before him and be broken, and also the prince of the covenant. And after the league is made with him he shall act deceitfully, for he shall come up and become strong with a small number of people. He shall enter peaceably, even into the richest places of the province; and he shall do what his fathers have not done, nor his forefathers: he shall disperse among them the plunder, spoil, and riches; and he shall devise his plans against the strongholds, but only for a time.
Daniel 11:20-24 (NKJV)
And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
Revelation 13:3-5 (NKJV)
Both texts speaking of this final ruler clarify he will establish his authority peacefully. It won’t last, but it will be built on intrigue rather than force of arms. Just like the prior passage in Daniel clarifies.
So to summarize what has been said so far, the peace in the Middle East that Christians are associating with this agreement will include the following. It will be an agreement that will last 7 years. It will involve the entire world. It will be based on the universal admiration and trust of the man who establishes it. And it will mark the beginning of the final week of Daniel, also known in Jeremiah as Jacob’s Trouble and the New Testament as the Tribulation Period.
What has actually taken place in recent news? A ceasefire was declared between three nations, (Israel, the U.A.E, and Saudi Arabia), for an undetermined period of time based on their mutual distrust of Iran. In short, this isn’t the peace spoken of by Daniel that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation. The Rapture of the Church hasn’t happened yet. This peace deal wasn’t based on the global admiration and trust of the man who wrote it. And the agreement between these nations isn’t set to any specific time period. Let alone 7 years.
It has been wisely observed that Israel should always be our focus when it comes to the prophetic calendar. However, don’t mistake foreshadowing for fulfillment. And likewise, don’t dismiss everything involving prophecy because some people haven’t been reading their Bibles carefully before posting videos and blogs about it.
Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of,
Matthew 24:46-50 (NKJV)
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